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Inspecting Houses for Student Occupation

What to Look for and How to Assess them for Housing Standards and Potential Management


The majority of second and third year students live in shared student houses in the local community, and this can be of varying standards leading to dissatisfaction and possible risks to the wellbeing and safety. Students and their parents often turn to the university or student union looking for support and intervention, but it can be difficult to know what the role of the institution is and how to respond.

This ‘hands on’ course provides information on:

  • the methodology required to inspect a house and how to get about it
  • what to record
  • an introduction to hazard identification and outcomes
  • identifying disrepair
  • reacting to student management issues
  • checking that licensing standards under the Housing Act 2004 are met
  • a brief introduction to the other main health and safety legislation covering shared houses
  • what role do other agencies play in policing standards and knowing when to refer
  • what role can the university or student union take in improving standards

The day will also provide some insight into the how to make an assessment of the suitability of houses for student occupancy and enable those working with private landlords to advise them correctly on any course of action required.

The day includes a visit to an occupied student house where delegates can apply their learning to a real-life example.

Delegates will be asked to do some preparatory reading before this event and will need to come prepared with information on their local HMO standards (further guidance will be provided).

Please note that the legal content in this course only applies to properties in England.


9.30am – 9.40amRegistration and Coffee

9.40am - 10.00amWelcome and Introduction of Delegates

10.00am – 10.40amHow to Look at a House: The methodology of inspecting a house in a systematic manner:
- Deciding what standards you are assessing on: Legal minimum or best practice? The role of accreditation
- Recording information and writing reports
- Insurance and personal safety
- Assessing a property for letting or management
- What support is available to improve standards?

Victoria Tolmie-Loverseed, Assistant Chief-Executive - Standards

10.40am – 10.50amQuestions and Discussion

10.50am – 11.10amBreak (Tea and Coffee provided)

11.10am – 12.20pmAssessing a Property: An introduction to the main housing legislation for shared - properties (House of multiple occupation)
- The Housing Act 2004 (Housing Health and Safety Rating System and HMO Licensing)
- Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Philip Moxon, Independent Environmental Health Officer

12.30pm - 12.40pmGroup Exercise on HMO Licensing

12.40pm - 1.10pmAssessing a Property continued
- Section 11, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
- Gas safety
- Electrical safety
- Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations 2015

Philip Moxon, Independent Environmental Health Officer

1.10pm – 1.50pmLunch (provided) and networking

1.50pm – 3.20pmHouse Visit (Delegates form groups and inspect a shared student house in preparation for compiling a report)

3.20pm - 3.40pmAnalysis and Report Preparation. Groups prepare reports on their visits (tea and coffee will be available during this session).

3.40pm – 4.00pmReport Back. A rapporteur from each group gives a resume of their report allowing each group to compare their views with others.

4.00pm – 4.15pmQuestions and Concluding Remarks

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